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A premature campaign speech

/ 12:59 AM September 20, 2014

They did not call it a press conference, as indeed it was not, because the speaker did not answer any questions, leaving it to underlings to do so. He merely read his speech which, it was reported, he had written himself and subjected to about 20 revisions. All by him. And then he left.

This was the “presidential” way to act, as distinguished from just the “presidentiable” way, which is why his underlings billed the event as a sort of State of the Nation Address

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(I guess he can feel the presidency within his grasp and can’t wait to rehearse), with the explanation on the overpriced Makati City Hall parking building thrown in.

But it was neither Sona nor explanation. It turned out to be a campaign speech, one and a half years premature. What were Jojo Binay’s major points?

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One is that he is going to play the poor vs. rich card to the hilt, just as Erap (successfully) and Villar (unsuccessfully) did. As it turns out, the closest that Erap and Villar came to “poor” is living in Tondo at some point. They were not rich, but they were not poor either; they were in the middle categories. But Binay’s pambato is that he was an orphan, and he equates that with poverty. Anyway, that’s one thing he’s got over Erap and Villar.

Of course, playing the poor-vs.-rich, us-against-them card means that if he succeeds in identifying himself with the poor (D and E socioeconomic classes), he has allied himself with 80 percent of the population. To make sure he doesn’t share that alliance with anybody else, he has labelled all his political opponents as coming from rich families, who look down on everyone else. That’s how he disposes of Cayetano, Trillanes, and, of course, Mar Roxas, too.

There is no question that Mar comes from money, but so does P-Noy. Binay somehow makes it seem a crime because of what he thinks is their inborn attitudes and prejudice against the poor. Excuse me? Then why was he dying to partner with P-Noy in the last elections (the Noy-Bi campaign)? Also, I had no idea that Trillanes was moneyed (at least not before he won his Senate seat), but I do know that Cayetano’s father Rene was a self-made man (a son of a mechanic and a public school teacher). Binay was almost the same: a son of a librarian and a public school teacher. But he apparently is not one to let the truth stand in the way of his goals.

Binay also wants to get all the LRT and MRT riders on his side, what with his sympathy for them lining up day in and day out, “braving the traffic and the flood” and “going home with fear in their hearts because of rampant criminality.” No data supplied. In fact, he is fighting for a better life for every Filipino. It gets you, right there.

And that’s the second major point that will come across in his campaign for the presidency. He says he is a fighter. They maul him left and right, but he will always get up and fight. Not just for himself, but also for the Filipino. According to him, two administrations (Arroyo’s and whose else?) tried to silence him during his 28 years in public service, but he was not cowed. Oh, the other administration must be Marcos, but Binay wasn’t in public service, or at least in public office, then. But it sounds good anyway.

The third point that he will be making again and again during his presidential campaign is that what he did in Makati he will do for the whole Philippines. This apparently resonated well in the last campaign. It is time to destroy this myth before it is accepted as truth by any more hapless voters.

The Binay version goes something like this: Makati, when he first stepped in as mayor (appointed by P-Noy’s mom) in 1986, had income of something like P500 million or so, and during his incumbency it ballooned to about P10 billion in 2010. He takes credit for this, which is a reflection of the development of Makati. And he says he can do it for the entire Philippines.

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In the first place, Makati in 1986, like the rest of the Philippines, was just recovering from an economic slump. And it recovered, and boomed. Binay had nothing to do with that, or with making Makati a financial center, a business district, an industrial hub for national and international corporations. We have to thank its central location, plus the development plans of the Zobel de Ayala family and its Ayala Corp. Jojo Binay did not pull Makati up; it was the other way around.

The Makati City website lists 62,392 establishments, 472 banks, 3,279 other finance-related institutions, 48 shopping center/malls, 41 Peza (Philippine Economic Zone Authority)-registered IT buildings, 47 embassies, 40 consulates, and 20 international organizations. And did I mention at least six of the most expensive residential developments, umpteen other condominium buildings, plus-plus… I doubt that the decision of any one of them to locate in Makati hinged on Jojo Binay.

Which is why Makati can provide so much for its poor: Its income—from business taxes, real estate taxes, business permit fees, licenses, etc.—is the largest among all local governments. To give an idea: Among the cities in Metro Manila, Makati and Quezon City have roughly the same income (Makati’s is slightly higher). But Quezon City’s population of 2.8 million (as of 2010) is almost six times that of Makati (477,000), and its land area is eight times larger. With the best will in the world, Quezon City cannot hope to provide the services that Makati is providing. And with the best will in the world, Jojo Binay cannot replicate Makati elsewhere in the Philippines.

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TAGS: Binay, Jejomar Binay, Jojo Binay, Makati City Hall Building 2, Makati City Hall parking building
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